JULES BREACH: The battle at the top of the Premier League promises to be the most competitive yet with SEVEN teams in the hunt

JULES BREACH: The battle at the top of the Premier League promises to be the most competitive yet with SEVEN teams in the hunt

Jules Breach

Jules Breach believes that this could be one of the most competitive battles at the top of the league
(Image credit: Getty Images)

In just the blink of an eye, the Premier League will be back – and this season could be the most competitive yet, particularly when you look at the battle for the Champions League spots.

While last year’s top four all listen to the Champions League anthem on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, Liverpool, Tottenham and Chelsea will be watching with envy, having missed out on places in this year’s competition. Add them into the mix for qualification next time, and we could have the most exciting storyline of the season.

Rewind to last August, and almost every football fan would have predicted Liverpool to be either Premier League champions or runners-up to Manchester City. However, the Merseyside club stuttered through much of the campaign, unable to gain consistency until their final 10 matches, which saw them finish in fifth – the highest position they achieved all season.

Erling Haaland

Erling Haaland’s Manchester City will again be the team to beat as they bid for their fourth title in a row (Image credit: Getty Images)

It was the first time they failed to qualify for the Champions League in Jurgen Klopp’s seven full seasons in charge. Now, in a bid for a much improved campaign, they have addressed one of their problem areas quickly in the transfer window, signing World Cup winner Alexis Mac Allister, along with fellow midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai.

Much of the blame for their troubles last season was aimed at their midfield area, and it’s likely more business will be done before the deadline of September 1. Add to that the club’s enviable selection of fit-again attackers – Liverpool’s frontline includes Luis Diaz, Diogo Jota, Darwin Nunez, Cody Gakpo and Mo Salah – and there’s hope.

Spurs and Chelsea come into this season off the back of their worst campaigns for over a decade. Both under new managers, there’s a touch of the unknown for the two London clubs, and similarly, they mirrored each other by failing to qualify for European football at all this time around.

But in a season to reset, that might be a good thing. Without the added midweek games, there’s a belief it can keep the squad fresher and fully focused on domestic duties, making them fiercer competitors for the top spots. Whisper this quietly, but the last time Chelsea played a season without European football in 2016-17, they won the Premier League, under Antonio Conte.

Mauricio Pochettino

Former Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino has returned to the Premier League with Chelsea   (Image credit: Getty Images)

Blues supporters will be optimistic that, surely, it can’t get any worse than last year. The start under Todd Boehly’s ownership has been chaotic, to say the least. A vast array of players signed, some for mind-blowing fees, and three different managers who all were unable – or weren’t given the opportunity – to figure out how to fit them all together.

So why will this season be different? Firstly, they’ve had a clear-out of players. There’s also no doubt about the talent in the squad. We’re still yet to see anywhere near the best of their landmark signings, such as Enzo Fernandez and Mykhailo Mudryk, and there will be more new acquisitions joining this summer. Chelsea will now hope that an organised, respected Mauricio Pochettino can mould them into a winning team again.

For the Argentine’s former club Spurs, it’s a first season in the Premier League for new boss Ange Postecoglou, after winning the title twice in two years at Celtic.

Tottenham were quick to act in the market, securing the shrewd £40m signing of James Maddison, who could be the creative spark they’ve been missing. When fit and at their best, Spurs’ attack could be a nightmare for defenders, especially in a progressive system under the Australian Postecoglou.

There is so much that can affect a team’s chances of success – who might get a little fortunate with injuries, and who else might arrive in this transfer window. Just look at Manchester United last season.

They started with two embarrassing defeats at home to Brighton and away at Brentford, but after adapting under new manager Erik ten Hag, then signing Casemiro and Antony later in the summer window, they ended up winning a trophy and sealing a top-four finish.

Along with the Red Devils, Newcastle are making their long-awaited return to the Champions League this term, Arsenal will hope to use last season’s pain and a new look midfield – Declan Rice included – to push them one step further, while Treble winners Manchester City always aim to set even higher standards each campaign.

With at least seven teams in contention for Champions League places this time around, the fight will be as intense as ever.


Jules Breach says that England can still win the World Cup, despite the loss of experience in the side

We’ve also compiled everything you need to know ahead of the World Cup in a special tournament hub

England manager Sarina Wiegman implemented some bonding methods for the England team that proved pivotal in the Lionesses’ Euro 2022 success

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

The best features, fun and footballing quizzes, straight to your inbox every week.

Jules Breach is a broadcast journalist who has lead presenting roles for TNT Sport, Channel 4, ITV, and Premier League Productions. Jules hosted BT Sport’s live flagship football show Score and also presents live Premier League, Europa League and Champions League matches. Jules is the lead presenter for Channel 4’s coverage of the England games and also hosts ITV’s EFL Highlights show. Jules presents worldwide coverage for Premier League Productions and away from work is a passionate Brighton fan.

Read More

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *